The standard sheet size for a typical wall panel whether it be HPL or PVC is 2.4m (8ft in old money) in height and 1.2m (4ft) wide, which is a very big area of coverage for a relatively small amount of time taken. For a standard two-sided shower enclosure that's two panels cut to size with ordinary DIY tools and adhered to the wall. When tiling that same area required multiple sections of (often brittle) ceramic being cut to size with specialist tools before being mortared to the wall. Both methods take around 24 hours to cure to the wall, however the tiler will then need to return to grout.
Linked to the faster installation; wall panelling is the cheaper choice compared to tiles. Prices for the two products will obviously vary depending on which part of the country you are from and which retailer you choose to deal with. However in all honesty it is likely that actual product cost will likely work out roughly the same. But, as alluded to, it is in the installation where the cost savings are made. No expensive wet trades are required to install wall panels and any person who is competent at DIY will be able to install them. That saves you a lot of money on hiring a fitter.
If you would rather a professional install your shower panels for you though, wall panels would still be a cheaper option. Tiling a bathroom to a high standard is generally going to require a skilled and experienced professional and any tradesman worth their salt are not going to come cheaply. Tiling is unquestionably a more complicated installation than a wall panelling system and therefore it takes more time to complete - thus you will have to pay your professional more money for their time.
Thinking of changing decor from your late 90's 'Changing Rooms' blue and yellow? Perhaps you've grown tired of terracotta and need something to redecorate without breaking the bank, well give wall panels a try. You can fit them directly over your tired tiles and even over old or unsightly Artex. This is a key advantage, as if you've ever tried to remove old tiles from a bathroom wall, you will know what a pain it is. Even a decent tiler is probably going to take most of the plastered wall with them!
Requiring two stages of wet installation, fitting tiles can be quite a messy process. Initially you have to mix the mortar and bed the tile into it, secondly the tiles have to be finished by grouting. Conversely, wall panel installation is largely a dry-fit process as the bonding adhesive that fixes the panel to wall and sealant come ready-mixed in a tube.
Have you ever noticed that stubborn black mould that usually sets up camp along a tile grout line? Well you aren't going to get with wall panelling. Its continuous, non-porous surface prevents mould from developing and just wipes clean after use.
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